The release of Harper Lee's second book Go Set a Watchman got INSIDE EDITION thinking -- Whatever happened to the young actress who played Scout in the movie version of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird?
Mary Badham is now 62 years old and on Tuesday night she made a rare public appearance reading from both of Harper Lee's novels at the 92nd street Y in Manhattan.
To Kill a Mockingbird brought Atticus Finch to life as one of the great heroes of American literature. Gregory Peck's legendary performance earned him an Oscar. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch was a compassionate lawyer who defended a black man that was accused of raping a white girl in the small town of Monroeville, Alabama in 1936. The novel, originally published in 1960, won a Pulitzer Prize for dealing with issues such as racial inequality during the height of segregation in the United States.
But what has people talking is the depiction of Atticus in the just released book as a 72-year-old bigot.
One fan of the book said: "With the way Atticus is portrayed, I don't want them to mess with my icon."
"For me, it's distressing because Atticus Finch was a big part of my childhood," said another.
But Mary Badham defended the novel. At the speaking engagement she said: "When you read the book, you'll get it."
The moderator asked her: "The four sentences aren't all there is to the story?"
Badham: replied: "No. There is so much more to this."
But reviews are mixed for Go Set a Watchman.
The Wall Street Journal calls it "a practice run for To Kill a Mockingbird, and it existed before anybody could have known that small-town Alabama lawyer Atticus Finch would become a symbol of the nation's moral conscience."
The New York Times review described it as "a distressing narrative filled with characters spouting hate speech."
Entertainment Weekly gives it a D+.
Positive or negative, this book is already the book event of the decade.
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